Women for the Needs of Women
$3,093 of $5,326 goal
Did you know the average American female will use 11,000 feminine hygiene products in her lifetime? That is about 250 products a year, and that doesn't include other necessary items like pain relievers, cleansing soaps, and birth control. An article by Jezebel breaks down how much it costs to have a vagina and came up with $2,663.02 per year. Costly for anyone, this total is manageable for women with more financial resources. Unfortunately, where does this leave women currently experiencing homelessness?
Women experiencing homelessness are a marginalized minority, and they are not always accurately represented in statistics on homelessness. A simple Google search doesn't produce very much information, except for a startling fact : Washington, DC is home to the third highest poverty rate in the United States. If $2,663.02 only covers a woman's feminine health annually, imagine how much more it takes to support other basic necessities, let alone an entire family?
I know I am only one person and I know reproductive health is only one component of a whole person, but I also know women don't deserve to be treated unfairly because of their gender or because of a bodily function they cannot control. If we come together as a community and a society to understand and support this issue, imagine what we can do!
My goal is to raise $5,326.00 to put towards buying feminine products. I am also accepting donations of wrapped tampons and maxipads at American University. (Maxipads are currently preferred.) Tweet or comment below to arrange for pickup. The results of this project will benefit Thrive DC , a center in Washington, D.C. providing meals and resources to the area's homeless. Please consider supporting my efforts and sharing my message with friends and family!
Stay connected with me on Twitter @mqlang!
I would like to take the time now to report to all of you - my supporters and cheerleaders - the final numbers from my feminine hygiene donation drive, Women for the Needs of Women. On December 15 (my birthday!) I was able to deliver 611 panty liners, 782 tampons, and 1,721 maxi pads to Thrive DC. I also handed over a check for approximately $3,400.00! (The total of the check came from donations made to this GoFundMe page, as well as in person donations.) I think we - those in the office receiving the donations and me - were surprised at the sheer volume of products. Although they had been sitting in my apartment for months, I don't think I even realized how many there were! Delivering the culmination of my project was a great and rewarding way to spend my birthday.
Truly none of this would have been possible without many people, and I would also like to take a moment to thank...
- my roommate, Darcy, for being just as excited as I was every time I received a donation and for never complaining about the pile of products behind the couch.
- Jeff Toquinto for writing an amazing article about my project and about my family. My passion for helping others comes from my parents, and I'm so glad this project got to highlight their great work, too.
- my sisters in Phi Mu at American University for "liking" and sharing every fundraising post, whether they were stateside or across the pond.
- Gregg Sangillo for writing another amazing article about my project that got me featured on American University's homepage. What a thing to check off my college bucket list!
- the American Studies department at American University for giving me a major that I love and that ultimately led to this project.
- Greg Rockwell and all of Thrive DC for being such rockstars. This organization holds respect and kindness at their core, and I truly admire all the work they do each and every day.
- my professor, Stef Woods, for saying yes to this project in the first place. Thank you for sitting through countless office hours, answering every frenzied e-mail and every celebratory text, and for always pushing me to up my goal even when I thought it was impossible. You are truly an amazing educator and an even more amazing role model. You have inspired me to reach for the moon because even if I miss, I will still land among the stars. (I think I reached the moon with this one, though.)
- and finally, I would like to thank each and every one of you for sharing all my social media posts, donating in person and online, and for spreading my story. I definitely underestimated the power social media before this project, but I definitely don't anymore. None of this, absolutely none of it, would have been possible without all of you, and I am so grateful for all the support and love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
So, where does this leave me now? I received more donations over winter break, so I'll be donating a couple hundred more products to Thrive DC in the upcoming weeks. I am also taking another class this Spring with Professor Woods titled Activism and Social Media, and I'm looking forward to getting involved in the DC community once more. (If you or someone you know is looking for a volunteer at a community based organization in the city, I would love to hear more!)
I encourage all of you to check out Thrive DC's website (thrivedc.org) to learn more about their organization and how you can get involved. If you aren't local to the DMV, I also encourage you to reach out to your local shelters and organizations helping those currently experiencing homelessness. Every little bit counts, and a small gesture can make a big difference!
Thank you again, truly, for making Women for the Needs of Women one of my most rewarding experiences yet!
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” - John Holmes
I have decided to double my $2,663.00 goal to $5,326.00. In keeping with the numbers from Jezebel, $5,326.00 would supply a woman with enough feminine hygiene products for two years. Let's consider the upcoming holidays and the colder weather. In my opinion, if we alleviate the stress of at least one menstrual cycle for women currently experiencing homelessness, we've done a whole lot of good.
This campaign officially ends on Monday, November 30, but I plan to leave the donation link open until mid December when the semester is over. I will continue to accept in person and product donations until then, too. As always, get in touch here, on Twitter, or on Facebook!
*For those in West Virginia, I will be home until Sunday, November 29 if you have any in person donations for me to collect!
I am so grateful for every contribution made to this cause. So grateful in fact that I may have cried in a Chick fil A when I saw $2,280. Please continue to spread the word and reach out if you have any questions! For those of you in West Virginia, I can collect any donations in person during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thank you, Miranda
In the upcoming weeks, I will bring you an interview with a health professional on the subject of feminine reproductive health. I will also provide more information about Thrive DC and how you can get involved after this project is over. As always, stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and in the comment section below. I will continue to accept donations here and in person until November 30. If you would like to donate maxi pads or tampons, comment or tweet for pick up arrangements. Thank you, Miranda
One thing I love about Miranda's approach to this project is how she approached this with a focus on cultural competency. She has volunteered weekly at Thrive DC and talked with staff and female participants about what they need. The women (and possibly trans men) who this drive will benefit have asked for maxi pads and tampons, not Diva Cups. That is what they have used in the past and what they are comfortable with. Additionally, proper Diva Cup care requires access to clean water, a private bathroom, and unscented, mild, water-based soap. It's unrealistic to expect women experiencing homelessness to have access to all of these things every month.
I agree with your goal - but I would argue that providing women with an environmentally friendly option like a DivaCup would be more cost effective. Good luck!